Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Went to a Garden Party

Had a hoot at last night's BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. While Roger Federer vs. Grigor Dimitrov was the marquee match, nostalgia queens like me were there for one reason only: The return of Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini!

The (idiotic) 8-game pro set featured a few flashes of the players' past greatness -- Monica came up with some angles out of nowhere, Gaby's topspin was at times too much to handle -- but the most remarkable thing was the mere sight of Sabatini, who looked like she could have walked right back on center court at Roland Garros and choked away a 6-1, 5-1 lead against any of today's top players. 

(Mary Joe Fernandez was doing on-court interviews, but was kept at a noticeable distance from Gaby.)

Seles' return of serve was nowhere to be found -- she was cracking up at how badly she was shanking the ball -- so Sabatini took the pro set 8-5.  Patrick McEnroe later got out of them that neither of them had played in years, but when Gaby said she never stopped training, he gave her a duh look and said, "Yeah -- that's pretty obvious to everyone here."

From HERE.

The obligatory postmatch selfie is even more adorable when juxtaposed near this shot from Buenos Aires circa 1990 that Monica tweeted!

The men were next ...

While we were a tad disappointed that Grigor's shorts weren't as tight as they might have been -- call Rafa, dude! -- the boys kept their best-of-three-set match fun and exciting, with a lot more banter than the women, who seemed to be trying to just not embarrass themselves. Our seats were pretty close to the court, which provided a stark reminder of just how hard the pros hit -- something you frequently don't appreciate on television or in the Arthur Ashe nosebleeds. The 5-all in the third situation that resulted may have seemed a bit fake, but the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink shot-making was all natural, 

The most dazzling moment of the match was a point in which they both hit tweeners -- Grigor did a tweener lob, watch the video! -- and it was great when Roger later teased Grigor about not putting away the volley. ("I think he choked.") In the end, Grigor won 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 -- which is exactly two more sets than he's ever won off his hero in tour play -- and the rest of us won having seen the greatest player of all time do his thing one more time before he fades into the sunset. 


Humorless Me said...

Gaby and Mary Jo are good friends though inspite of that match.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

It was a joke :-)